June 28th, 2010
08:28 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Otis McDonald

The 76-year-old retired custodian asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a 1982 municipal handgun ban so that he can protect himself in his inner-city Chicago home. On Monday, the high court ruled unconstitutional the Illinois city's ban on handgun
ownership, a potentially far-reaching case over the ability of state and local governments to enforce limits on weapons.

McDonald told the Chicago Tribune that he has lived in the same area of Chicago for 38 years. After thugs broke into his house three times, McDonald said he used his own hunting rifle to chase them away. In 2005, when Illinois lawmakers considered an assault-rifle ban, McDonald attended a gun rally.

"I was the only black guy that I saw," McDonald told the AARP Bulletin.

At the rally, he met Alan Gura, the attorney who helped to overturn Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban. Gura persuaded McDonald to become the main face of the Chicago lawsuit.

"It doesn't matter what anyone's motives were for picking me for this," McDonald told AARP. "I have my own motives, and they are so compelling and so heavy that to me this is worthy of my effort."

The Chicago law has been shown to reduce crime, according to gun-control advocates. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is a powerful supporter of the ban.

"Maybe he could come there and spend the night, especially during the summer, and listen to what I listen to out my window," McDonald said. "Maybe he would understand where I'm coming from."

CNN: High court strikes down Chicago handgun ban

Chicago Tribune: The public face of gun rights

AARP: Chicago man stands up for right to bear arms

Vincent Warren

While top White House officials have expressed confidence that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will earn the respect and votes of senators during her confirmation hearings, which begin Monday, President Obama's choice for the highest court faces skepticism from both conservatives and liberals.

Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, issued a statement in May explaining that his nonprofit organization has fought "the dangerous growth of executive power, particularly as it concerns torture, detention, surveillance and racial profiling, areas where the government has flouted the law most blatantly over the last decade. I am sad to say that Solicitor General Elena Kagan's record indicates a troubling support for expanding presidential powers, something we must be vigilant about at this time. President Obama would appear to be seeking to appoint a Supreme Court judge who will endorse his policies and appease conservatives."

For seven years, Warren was a national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. He is known as a leading African-American voice for affirmative action.

CNN: White House confident of high court nominee days before hearings

Center for Constitutional Rights: Executive director critical of Kagan's nomination

Jessica Stern

One of the world's foremost experts on terrorism and post-traumatic stress disorder says one of the reasons she has succeeded in her field is because of a sexual assault that she faced as an adolescent.

"Why was I so interested in violence?" Stern says. "I realize now that I was trying to understand violent men, because I had been a victim of violence."

A Harvard-trained former National Security Council policy director, Stern told the Chronicle of Higher Education that she began confronting her own painful past in 2006 when she requested a copy of her 33-year-old police file.

On the night of October 1, 1973, Stern - 15 at the time - and her 14-year-old sister were home alone in Concord, Massachusetts, when a man armed with a gun raped them. Stern's investigation into what happened to the serial child rapist and the impact that the crime had on her life is the subject of her new book, "Denial, A Memoir of Terror."

Stern, who has traveled the world interviewing terrorists, was the model for the title character played by Nicole Kidman in the 1997 movie, "The Peacemaker."

Chronicle of Higher Education: A terrorism expert turns her gaze inward

Harper Collins: Jessica Stern

Arturo Rodriguez

The president of the United Farm Workers of America is challenging people who complain that undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from U.S. citizens to do something about it.

The Texas Tribune reports that the UFW is launching a "Take Our Jobs" campaign, inviting citizens and legal residents to replace immigrants in the field. The campaign is encouraging members of Congress to refer their constituents to vacant farm worker positions in locations across the country. The union promises that experienced farm workers will train new recruits.

Rodriguez told the newspaper that he doesn't expect many citizens to take the offer seriously, because many workers earn about half of what nonfarm jobs pay. Instead, Rodriguez says, the UFW is more focused on drawing attention away from a deportation-only approach to immigration, which he said would decimate the agriculture industry.

"Somehow, undocumented workers are getting as much blame for our economic troubles as Wall Street, but missing from the immigration debate is an honest recognition that the food we all eat at home, in restaurants and workplace cafeterias, including those in the Capitol, comes to us from the labor of undocumented workers," Rodriguez said.

The Texas Tribune: UFW launches 'Take Our Jobs' initiative

Take Our Jobs website

Tim Scott

The 44-year-old candidate for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, who defeated the son of the late Sen, Strom Thurmond in last Tuesday's GOP primary, could become the only African-American Republican on Capitol Hill.

The New York Times reports that Scott, a businessman who served 14 years in county government, was a poor high school student. But a man named John Moniz, the owner of the Chick-fil-A restaurant next to the movie theater where Scott sold popcorn, introduced him to what he describes as a conservative, Christian point of view.

After his mentor died at age 38, the newspaper reports, Scott, then 17, created a "mission statement" for his life: Before he dies, he would have a positive effect on the lives of 1 billion people.

"To know my story is to understand that there were people who had no reason to step up to the plate and help me, but who did," Scott said. "I want to serve the community because the community helped me."

According to the Times, Scott believes that President Obama is driving the country toward bankruptcy and socialism.

The New York Times: South Carolina candidate shrugs off history's lure

soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. BD70

    In reply to working in the fields. I did...as a kid I worked the fields and the orchards. Its not easy work. Nothing like farm labor to help kids of today understand that food doesn't just magically appear on the store shelves.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Kerri


      Well said!!!

      June 28, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Richp, Easton, Pa

      Ditto on the well said, same with meat for the anti-hunting crowd.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee, Mays Landing, NJ

      I know many large blueberry growers, almost to a man republican (although not the totally crazy kind now popular), but they won't hire Americans for their work. I've asked them about it and they say not only can they get away with paying less, but the central americans work many times harder, never complain of conditions and the growers can cut corners that they couldn't otherwise as this population just stays quiet and works. As a result, our food prices are far lower.
      These wealthy growers aren't the crazy kind of republican now in the forefront of their party, but they do seem to be the of the cynical brand of old fashioned wealthy republican. They will use the other (crazy brand) for their purposes but they are counting on illegals still coming in, knowing nothing will change as long as employer-based enforcement will never be enacted.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. warsteiner

    We have jails filled with workers free loading off the tax payers.Non violent criminals can work for nothing but room a board. Welfare anyone on welfare capable of working should be contracted to work for benefits single men and women,homeless,etc,etc.And I would work anywhere before I lose my pride and accept benefits free. Thats half the problem in this country no pride for self and backward beliefs kids raised to think jobs are beneth them. We need this work now more than ever to teach people its better to work than free load.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • david zho

      biggest free loader are from washington ... oh yeah they get a raise while we are in recession and alot of people are out of job

      June 28, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • pkfops

      Can you provide an exact $$$ figure as to how much is being paid to immigrants vs. citizens?

      June 28, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Lesley

      Well said! We have alot of freeloaders! Isn't that how Reagan pulled California out of its economic slump?

      June 28, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. abd

    All the american at one point were immigrants, and now they are against immigrants, this is what is called selfsihness my friends

    June 28, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Please learn the difference between LEGAL and ILLEGAL immigration.

      June 28, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • rtw24

      man stfu today is not before, move on in life....

      June 28, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Really???

      But, I know my ancestors came to this country LEGALLY. Whether they came through Ellis Island or through some other means, they didn't sneak across a border.

      June 28, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • wendi

      I am the daughter of legal immigrants (1842) Check Wiki to see when immigration became ILLEGAL

      June 28, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • only in america

      I'll try telling that to the Mexican immigration services, when I decide to live there illegally. I am sure they would be very understanding.

      June 28, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • david zho

      not sure if your stupid or what ... they are ILLEGAL immigrants ... you know the word " ILLEGAL " ? maybe not ... cant read/talk/comprehend english also ?

      June 28, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      You miss the point completely. It is not immigrants we are against it is that we are against any people that break US laws and come in our country illegally. There are reasons for immigration laws and almost every country in the world has these laws setup to protect their borders from unwanted people. With out the filter of immigration laws any one could enter our country. You sound as if you would not mind having and open border and let anyone in our country. Refer back to what happened when President Carter allowed the Cuban influx during the Mariel Boat lift in 1980. Crime in South Florida jumped to higher levels. Unemployment rose from 5% to 7.1% and the other part of this was that Cuba dumped out jails and mental hospitals just to make life more interesting for those of us in the State. Immigrants will always be welcome in our country as long as they do what all US citizen are required to do and that is obey our laws.
      Once they are citizens they will have the same rights as the rest of America. It is about the LAW not about Immigrants get it!

      June 28, 2010 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Oh, we know the difference. An "Illegal" immigrant is one that can't conquer and push aside the people already living in the country he's come to. A "legal" immigrant can.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • RM11

      Can anyone answer a couple of questions for me?

      1. What is the annual quota for legal immigrants from Mexico?

      2. And how many work permits are avai.lable to Mexican workers each year?

      June 28, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • thenumbersdontlie

      wendi "I am the daughter of legal immigrants (1842) Check Wiki to see when immigration became ILLEGAL"

      The Naturalization Act of 1790 passed by Congress employed explicitly racial criteria limiting citizenship


      Prior to that, the first Continental Congress established that the colonies would adopt all laws of England. Immigration from other countries were very few prior to England forming colonies. That is what artocrats and blue bloods are all about. The original immigrants.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • legallyhere

      The real issue also is that the legal avenues are basically closed. There's plenty of people who have been waiting years.The legal avenues are rediculous.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • shawn

      The legal avenues for immigration have been 'full' for years (I immigrated 30 years ago with my parents).
      That's part of the process – being dedicated and focused enough to wait it out. It was never intended to be an open door for anyone who wakes up one morning and decides to move to the US.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • mama panda

      Could one of you shouting responders please explain why you think "legal" and "illegal" must be written in capital letters?

      June 28, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • sugarsweettweet

      No one against immigration... that's what this country is founded on. We just want legal immigration!!

      June 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Conrad Shull

    Most of the field harvesting was done by locals when I was young, still I agree that migrant farm labor is not something too many people want to do both because it's hard, backbreaking work and because it's, well, migratory. But, all the construction, babysitting, housekeeping, gardening, lawn-care and landscaping jobs in our area are done by locals from the area, so the theory of "doing the work no one else will do" is not that solid.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • mistrlittlejeans

      When are you signing up then?

      June 28, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Will

    "Rodriguez told the newspaper that he doesn't expect many citizens to take the offer seriously, because many workers earn about half of what nonfarm jobs pay. "

    Well, minimum wage is $7.25. Double that is $14.50, which is about what my sister makes, and she has a graduate degree. I'm not sure what planet Mr. Rodriguez lives on

    June 28, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      Mr. Rodriguez is living in the uSA on planet earth. As of 2009, the median income for all workers 25+ was 15.45/hour. As for people with masters degrees, it was 25.19/hour. Your sister sounds like she woefully underpaid.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. work4taxes

    I totally agree with Warsteiner, instead of free benefits lets have people work. if the jobs are there why not
    Although I do have another "bone to pick" I beleive thet the UFW is praying that nobody shows up, as a legal worker will cost them adequate pay and benefits..
    they are not helping the illegal, they are lining their pockets

    June 28, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • diane

      I agree. There are many ways to come and work legally in this country. Get work visas and you will be welcome to come and work on farms. It's all about money and the explotation of illegal immigrants.

      June 28, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali999

      We have the H2-A program (no cap) for seasonal agricultural workers and H2-B for unskilled workers in other fields (limited to 66,000 per year). Guess what? Employers have preferred illegal alien labor because it's cheaper and they don't have to bother with the paperwork. They can also stick the U.S. taxpayer with other costs such as healthcare, which is also what an amnesty would do. By the way, I recall reading several years ago about the workers employed by one such program. Turns out that SKILLED EDUCATED workers bribed their way into a program for unskilled workers, then immediately left the employer once they got green cards. You can use skills and education for SKILLED JOBS, but what criteria do you use when you're talking UNskilled jobs? By definition, these workers are interchangeable and fraud or bribery would likely become rampant.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. diane

    I see nothing wrong with farm work. My husband and I worked on my father in law's farm for years. The work is hard but there is nothing like eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden. We should set up programs to put people to work in any jobs that need doing. My uncle wad a CB and he helped build bridges and dams across the country. We need programs like this so americans can work. It would help if this kind of program was introduced to the juvenile justice system. Put these kids to work instead of locking them up.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. bubba's babe

    @abd... I don't think we are saying we are against "immigrants" I think we are saying we are against illegal "immigrants." If you want to be in our country and reap its benefits then have enough pride and become legal. That is all. I also think that if an employer is willing to hire someone they know is illegal I think they should have enough pride in their country to help them to become legal. Become legal or you are fired kind of stance.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Case

    I agree with Warsteiner, put people on welfare and low risk criminals to work in the fields. Seems like a win win situation to me. Might just save the government a bushel full of money and get alot of dead beats off their butts.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Oleg

      There is a problem: to put low level criminals and welfare people to work fields is to force them to do what they don't want to do. I am absolutely agree with you, they MUST earn their keep, but do not expect much of productivity from forced labor. In simple words, expect food shortages.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. steve harnack

    For all those people who begin their hate messages with when my family came here they came legally, I would remind them that in those days legally just meant that you made it to American soil, so don't claim some higher calling that made you Americans, all it took was the initiative to get here and thrive which people from south of the border have plenty of.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Oleg

      And what about us, who came here in late 20 century? I applied for visa, and got it after 4 (four) yeas, paid a slew of handsome fees to american government, went for mandatory medical check ups, had my fingerprints taken, etc., etc., My brother- in- law is waiting for his visa since 1999 !!! And beside an american sister he has PARENTS who are citizens of this country. Meanwhile, somebody just step over fence and ....... This is unfair. Process should be the same for everyone.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. DallasMarine

    I'd say betraying Native American's trust and raping their land was illegal behavior. So, you DIDN'T come to America legally.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • name

      I totally agree. Everyone here is an illegal immigrant.

      June 28, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • publius enigma

      The difference is that the pilgrims did not work for peanuts thereby depressing the going wages. Illegals hurt the job market. They work for cheap not because they are mexican, but because thats their only choice since they are illegal. Make them legal or send them packing. No middle ground.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • nordicmetalhead

      I'm sorry but I disagree with your blanket statement; assuming you were unaware of African Americans when you posted this, you should be aware that, historically, African Americans are among the few races who are legally in the U.S. Our ancestors were brought here, mostly unwillingly, as slaves, and as slavery was a legal practice until 1863, we were brought here legally and thus, have been legally present in spite of the lack of paperwork that would ensure citizenship (remembering that, at one point, we were only considered "3/5 human", but that has no bearing on this conversation, just background)

      June 28, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • thenumbersdontlie

      What laws were broken and what sovereign nation reigned when the colonies were formed?

      I really hate this argument. America indians according to scientific findings ALSO migrated to North America. I believe at some point indian nations were recognized as such and conquered because at that time that is what we did.

      Are you trying to say that illegal immgrants are planning to conquer the US and take over like we did with the indians?

      We are ALL immigrants to the americas. Including indians. Depending in what point in time you want to freeze.

      HELLO! The illegals from ANY central and south america and mexico did the SAME THING TO INDIANS!!!!! And those indians ALSO migrated here.

      The USA is a sovereign recognized country. THAT is the difference.

      We are doomed to repeat history if we do not learn from it. Apparently we forgot it.

      So save what doesn't apply for another thread. We are talking here and now ONLY.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • thenumbersdontlie

      Funny how a "marine" doesn't understand conquering and war.

      We conquered and won. Not the same argument.

      Illegals from the americas ALL conquered indians. Different argument for another thread.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • thenumbersdontlie

      Let me clarify. We are talking about breaking laws not going to war. I don't believe anyone here claimed ILLEGALS were trying to conquer th USA.

      June 28, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. baz987

    This is my assumption. Many of the illegals working in "the fields" are not paying state or federal income taxes., and possibly Social Security. This way companies can afford to pay illegals less than citizens. If they hire citizens, then they'll have to take out state and federal taxes, plus social security. This cost the companies money so instead of paying an illegal 7.00, they'll have to pay a citizen $11.00. However, they will advertise the job at $7.00 an hour, realizing a citizen will not work for that knowing that taxes come out of it. The illegal will get the whole $7.00. The citizen may end up with $5.00 to $5.50 take home pay. If my assumption is incorrect, then the UFW or gov't should go to these companies and see what they're paying illegals and what taxes are being taken out. Is this too much to ask? GIVE US THE FACTS!

    June 28, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Kerri

      I agree with you. I also believe that taxes may end up being lower if people stop expecting the government to fix all their personal problems, therefore helping small companies afford to hire people who pay taxes and still stay in business.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  13. SEMN

    Who do you think did those farm job 25-50 years ago. It was the locals and teenagers earning money, I remember many kids de-teaseling corn, walking the bean fields pulling weeds, etc. When I went to school the football coach told the kids get a farm jobs and bale hay all summer to get strong, now the have air conditioned weight rooms. Somewhere along the way most Americans decided these jobs weren’t good enough to do even the teenagers.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • thenumbersdontlie

      Exactly. They are tryng hard to JUSTIFY illegal activity. I work with alot of LEGAL immigrants. I grew up with alot of LEGAL immigrants.

      GET LEGAL!!!!!! THAT IS OUR ONLY CRY!!!!!! HEAR US!!!!!

      June 28, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Ali999

      Many agricultural jobs could also be mechanized or ne breeds developed, such as tomatoes that facilitate machine picking. The US expenditures on research in agriculture have decreased dramatically since the 1980s to the point we actually trail countries in R&D. Largely because of the availability of cheap, illegal labor. As it is we already import a large amount of products from countries such as Chile, countries that are able to produce them cheaply because the cost of living there is lower than here. Why would we want to import low wage workers whom the rest of us need to subsidize when we can just import the products? (Note that we produce FAR above the amount needed to be "food secure". And just how are strawberries essential? Heck, when I was a kid we used to grow them and I still see homes here in the city that have berry patches for self-picking.)

      June 28, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Stan Haas

    Which do you think that unemployed American workers would rather do – sit at home and do nothing while collecting unemployment, welfare, food stamps, or work as a migrant farm worker in 110 degree heat for less money? I will laugh when Arizona farms cannot hire enough workers and ther crops will go to waste.

    June 28, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • ibelieve85

      Have you not lived in a Free Market Capitalist country your whole life?! What happens when employers have a hard time hiring new workers? In case you missed that day in class, I'll fill you in. The employers (aka farms) are forced to up the wages for the jobs they are hiring for to a wage that somebody will take. You never know, maybe migrant farmer will be a job you could find on The Ladders soon.

      June 28, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. wendi

    PLEASE that is the OLD story about immigrants only want farm work. They have moved into higher
    paying construction jobs such as roofing, drywall, etc. It is white versus blue collars-have you not noticed?
    The only people championing illegal immigration are those whose jobs are not threaten-TV anchors, politicians,

    June 28, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
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